Fire near Fredonia brings huge response, burns 100 acres

Stock image | Photo courtesy of Pixabay, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A fast-moving grass fire ignited when a high-voltage power line near Fredonia, Arizona, was blown to the ground, prompting a huge multiagency response and more than 100 firefighters Saturday afternoon.

Just before 4 p.m. Kane County dispatch received numerous calls reporting a grass fire burning at milepost 27 on SR-389, southwest of Kanab across the Utah border.

“A thunder storm was passing through the area at the time, creating erratic winds and strong gusts,” Hildale/Colorado City Fire Chief Kevin Barlow said.

During the storm a high-voltage power line became dislodged from a pole and fell to the ground, causing arcing into the dry grass which ignited the blaze.

Fire units from Fredonia Fire Department and Hildale/Colorado City Fire Department were first to respond. Once on scene, fire officials realized how fast the fire was moving, as well as the potential for the blaze to spread, Barlow said.

“We needed federal fire resources at that point, so we contacted the Color Country Interagency Fire Management Dispatch Center in Cedar City and requested assistance,” he said.

Firefighters from Color Country Fire Management were soon joined by fire crews from the Kanab Fire Department and the National Park Service, as well as the Kaibab Piute Fire Department that cut a fire line around the west side of the fire, preventing the blaze from spreading farther.

Firefighters continued to battle the blaze that was fueled by sagebrush and tamarisk until it was contained and later extinguished.

Garkane Energy was also dispatched to the scene and repaired the downed wire with no interruption of service to any customers.

Firefighters remained on scene until 9 p.m. to ensure any hot spots that remained were extinguished and to continue checking the area for embers which could smolder and then ignite later.

Numerous agencies brought 21 fire trucks, units, graders, repair crews and equipment, along with more than 100 firefighters who responded and worked together with a common goal, Barlow said.

“To control a fire that had a large potential to grow much larger,” he said.

In total, 107 acres burned, and no injuries were reported at the writing of this report.

Officers and agents from the Arizona Highway Patrol, Fredonia Marshal’s Office and the Bureau of Indian Affairs also responded and provided mutual aid.

The Hildale-Colorado City Fire Department, Fredonia Fire Department, Kanab Fire Department, Kaibab Piute Fire Department, Bureau of Land Management Fire Department, National Park Service Fire Department, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Arizona Highway Patrol and Fredonia Marshal’s Office responded and provided mutual aid.

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